Posted on

HIPPA security rules

Great Lakes Imaging would like to inform you of the new HIPPA security rules:

The HIPAA Security Rule (45 C.F.R. § 164.308 (a)(5)(ii)(B) requires that all software used by Covered Entities and Business Associates be kept current and up to date with updates from the software vendor. If a vendor no longer supports a software program, it cannot be used. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will end all support for Windows 7. After that date, simply having a Windows 7 computer on your network will be a HIPAA violation. Windows 7 HIPPA compliance won’t be possible. At Great Lakes Imaging we can update your computer to Windows 10.

From Microsoft’s Windows 7 Web page:

Support for Windows 7 is ending

All good things must come to an end, even Windows 7. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7. But you can keep the good times rolling by moving to Windows 10.

Is Windows 7 HIPAA Compliance still possible?

Yes, if you are using Windows 7 now, you can still achieve compliance.  However, after January 14th, 2020 that won’t be possible. As stated above, even having a single Windows 7 computer on your network at the time will be an instant violation of HIPAA regulations. Extended support for Windows 7 will end and no new updates will be available from Microsoft. This includes updates for any new security holes that are found in Windows 7 after that date. Call or email Great Lakes Imaging for pricing to upgrade to Windows 10.

Because of its popularity, many Covered Entities and Business Associates are still using Windows 7. Migrating a large number of computers will take time and planning. The main issue will be ensuring it’s done before attesting for Meaningful Use.

No meaningful use using Windows 7

Where this becomes very serious is when a Covered Entity goes to attest under MIPS for Meaningful Use. Meaningful Use requires that Covered Entities also attest that they are HIPAA compliant. If a Covered Entity is using a Windows 7 computer next year and goes to attest, this will be an issue. Especially since the entity is stating they are compliant when it’s not possible that they are.

What do you need to do?

Here are some steps you can follow to get migrated over to Microsoft Windows 10 and remain in HIPAA compliance. Call or email Great Lakes Imaging, and let us help you through the process.

  1. Perform a Risk Assessment: If you haven’t already done so, do a thorough Risk Assessment of your practice (or business). This will reveal all of the computers that are running Windows 7.
  2. Assess your current hardware: Will you need new hardware? If so, how will you go about purchasing them? If your current computers will be able to handle Windows 10, then you can move forward.
  3. Plan your Windows 10 Migration: If you need to purchase new computers, get them ordered. If your computers are good, then download the Windows 10 update. Microsoft doesn’t publish it widely, but you can still upgrade to Windows 10 at no charge if you are using Windows 7.
  4. Dispose of old Windows 7 computers: Your old Windows 7 computers will still have Protected Health Information on them. The hard drives need to be wiped with a secure wipe method before you dispose of them. If you engage an outside service, make sure they provide you with a certification of destruction to add to your own HIPAA documentation. This will validate that you performed your due diligence to destroy the PHI that may have been on the old hard drives.

Other Microsoft software that is not HIPAA compliant

If you are one of the 5% still using Windows XP, its time to upgrade. Support for Windows XP ended in 2014. Windows XP was such a stable and good operating system, very much like Windows 7, that many people didn’t want to leave it. However, there have been no security updates for Windows XP for many years and it cannot be considered safe. On top of that, it is very much a HIPAA violation.

Windows Vista, one of Microsoft’s least popular operating systems, is used less than 1% of the time. Its support ended in April 2017. If you are still using Vista, this is a HIPAA violation.

Windows 8 was a popular operating system and it still holds 5% of the market. Extended support for Windows 8 will be available until 2023.

Another issue waiting to bite practices and their business associates will be servers running Windows Server 2003 and 2008. Windows Server 2003 was retired in 2015 and Windows 2008 will be retired at the same time as Windows 7, January 14, 2020. Servers are often used for longer periods than workstations and because of this, they are forgotten. If you are using a server with either of these operating systems, it is time to upgrade. The issue is, however, that the servers will also likely need to be replaced. Servers that old won’t be able to run the newer Microsoft operating systems for servers. Installing a new server is a much more prolonged process than changing your workstations. It involves relocating practice management and EMR data, setting up a new domain for your office and setting up security for compliance. Allow Great Lakes Imaging to help you become Hippa compliant.

Summary

The HIPAA Security Rule requires that all Covered Entities or Business Associates use software that is supported by the vendor. If the software is no longer supported, it is not HIPAA compliant. On January 14, 2020, Microsoft will retire support for Windows 7, one of its most popular operating systems. If your practice (or business for Business Associates) is still using Windows 7 on your network, the time is now to start planning your migration to Windows 10. 2020 is just a few months away and will be here soon enough. Start taking action now so that you won’t have a Windows 7 HIPAA compliance issue in your practice. Windows 10 upgrades are still available for free for users of Windows 7, so there is no reason not to upgrade. If you are still using Windows 7 after January 14, 2020, and attest for MIPS, then you will have another issue since part of attesting is stating your HIPAA compliance.

Contact us today to get Hippa compliant.

Phone:586-268-9200

Email: info@greatlakesimaging.com

Posted on

Five Radiology Tips for Veterinarians

Five Radiology Tips for Veterinarians

Radiology fulfills a number of functions in veterinary practice. Beyond the obvious uses of diagnostic imaging equipment, it’s useful to remember that X-rays are an important profit center in many practices. That is, of course, contingent on getting it right; radiographic faults, as the industry resource Vet Times reminds us, can be a source of frustration, misdiagnoses, and lost profits. With that in mind, Great Lakes Imaging has some simple tips to help you get it right.

Ensure Proper Positioning

Modern medical imaging equipment provides better resolution than ever before, allowing vets to identify and treat common (and uncommon) medical problems and improve outcomes. But your diagnostic tools rely on their operator and the diagnostician, so ensure that you’re positioning the patient properly for the region in question and making enough images for a proper diagnosis to be possible. With patience, it’s possible to get it right the first time and cut down on the number of retakes that are necessary.

Use Proper Restraints

It’s hard enough to get a proper exposure on a cooperative human subject. It’s harder still for technicians working with animals who are in unfamiliar surroundings, and who are being handled by someone who—no matter how professional, caring, and gentle—is unfamiliar to them. Using manual restraint or sandbags can be helpful in this regard. However, if you’re dealing with an animal that’s anxious or agitated, a mild sedative can be an even bigger help. It’s not enough to get the animal into position, after all; keeping them in position long enough for a series of proper exposures will lead to less anxiety for all involved (including you).

Reduce Exposure

Nobody wants to be their own nightlight. A single x-ray isn’t harmful for the patient or the person administering it. But technicians typically take hundreds per year, so anything that decreases exposure—from proper protection to not taking unnecessary X-rays—should be embraced.

Ensure Proper Protection

Speaking of proper protection, your approach should be twofold. On the one hand, proper medical radiation shielding in its many forms (stationary and mobile barriers, lead walls, lead glass, and lead curtains) is an absolute necessity. So too, however, is personal protective equipment, including lead aprons and gloves, glasses, and other gear that protects your staff. That said, there’s also no substitute for care or common sense; these protective measures are designed to minimize exposure to excess background radiation, not from exposure to a direct beam.

Proper Maintenance Matters

PPE is not the only means at your disposal to limit exposure to radiation. Proper maintenance of durable medical equipment like your shielding and X-ray machine are also vital. Something as simple—and too often, overlooked—as proper collimation limits accidental exposure. It has follow-on effects, too, since a properly collimated machine provides more accurate dosing and higher image quality. Ensure that your equipment is maintained on schedule and checked constantly for any signs of trouble.

Running a veterinary practice is as challenging as it is rewarding. For help meeting the challenges to maximize the rewards, get in touch with Great Lakes Imaging. We’re more than an inventory of veterinary equipment for sale—we offer advice and solutions that help from day to day.

Posted on

MRI May Prevent Alzheimer’s Misdiagnosis in Seniors

MRI Scan

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there is still reason for hope. Early intervention, even with the frustratingly limited treatments currently available, can slow disease progression and thereby extend quality of life for those with the disease. However, that intervention isn’t possible without an early and accurate diagnosis, which can be difficult in neurological issues. Diagnostic imaging equipment has a part to play in reinforcing cognitive and behavioral testing, ensuring a higher degree of accuracy in diagnosis and buying precious time.

The Importance of Accuracy

When Alzheimer’s is mistaken for something else, such as dementia or traumatic brain injury, precious time is lost, and ineffective treatments applied, meaning that a rapidly-closing window can leave few options when the mistake is caught. This cuts both ways, of course. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 40% of dementia has its roots in causes other than Alzheimer’s, and a UCLA study found that a full 21% of adults with dementia may be misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This leads to “patients not receiving the appropriate treatment, and prevents them from participating in clinical trials that could improve their overall care.”

Current Diagnostic Tools

For quite some time, the diagnostic tools available were limited to cognitive and behavioral evaluations conducted by a general practitioner, geriatrician, or neurologist. Impaired cognitive ability, memory loss, behavioral changes, and degraded ability to do everyday tasks were all taken as possible symptoms, and might be evaluated alongside interviews with friends and family as a control. Testing for other conditions, like strokes and Parkinson’s disease would also be performed to rule out other diseases and disorders.

Brain imaging is a more powerful tool in the diagnostic arsenal. As it stands now, technology like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans are used to rule out brain tumors, strokes, and cerebral hemorrhage, to distinguish among types of degenerative brain disease, and to understand the degree of degeneration.

New Uses for MRIs in Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

The above-cited UCLA study holds out hope for more accurate diagnoses. By measuring brain volume and closely examining the regions of the brain affected, it becomes possible to diagnose with greater accuracy and a higher degree of certainty.

This is due in part to the distinct regions of the brain affected by different pathologies; for instance, the damage found in the hippocampus that is common to Alzheimer’s cases is largely absent or significantly less severe in patients with traumatic brain injury and dementia, whereas the ventral diencephalon damage found in TBI and dementia are not associated with Alzheimer’s. This use of magnetic resonance imaging should increase the accuracy of diagnosis, moving the timeline so that the right treatment starts earlier.

The Future of Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Earlier, we mentioned PET scans in brain imaging. A new use is just over the horizon. As the Mayo Clinic points out, PET scans are capable of finding the tau proteins and amyloid plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, even before the onset of symptoms. However, this use is still in the research phase, and may not come into common use as a diagnostic tool for some time yet.

It’s axiomatic that you fight a war with the army you have. All of us at Great Lakes Imaging are well aware of the dedication and tenacity of those on the front lines in the fight against Alzheimer’s—Alzheimer’s patients, their families and caregivers, as well as the doctors and scientists alike. But we also know that the arsenal available to the “troops” is still a work in progress, and we look forward to further progress as we all fight to eradicate this scourge.

Posted on

Software & Tools to Integrate in Your Chiropractor Practice

Software & Tools to Integrate in Your Chiropractor Practice

We know that chiropractic care  addresses more than spinal health; it helps patients with their physical, mental, and emotional well-being too. Similarly, Great Lakes Imaging addresses more than chiropractic offices’ imaging needs. We are a comprehensive chiropractic supply company, offering a range of software and other tools that let you stop worrying about equipment so you can give your patients more of your undivided attention and care.

Imaging Hardware

If you seek an all-in-one imaging solution for your chiropractic practice, our digital Universal Chiropractic System provides high-resolution imaging that’s fast and accurate without the need for film. Its compact size ensures it adapts to a wide range of space constraints, while electromagnetic brakes and fixed positioning help with accuracy. Also inquire about our wired and wireless DR panels, which provide rapid charging, high-res analog to digital conversions, and ample imaging area.

Imaging Software

While we wouldn’t discount the importance of medical imaging — it’s our bread and butter, after all — we’re well aware that it’s what you do with the images that matters. That’s why our chiropractic x-ray systems are bundled with analytical tools and software that allow for advanced orthogonal analysis, upper cervical analysis, ilium analysis, line drawing, and much more. The level of precision our software provides in tandem with hardware allows for a much more thorough approach to chiropractic care.

Tables and Benches

The adjusting table is the backbone of the chiropractic office. We offer multiple options, many of which can be expanded upon or accessorized for pelvic rotation, manual or automatic cocking drops, and much more.

  • Electric and manual adjusting tables
  • Stationary tables
  • Hylo tables
  • Combination units that combine elevation, hylo, and flexion-distraction functions
  • Roller massage tables for soothing cervical, thoracic, and lumbar massage
  • Portable adjustment, massage, and treatment tables that set up in moments

Traction Equipment

Traction systems and decompression tables like those from Triton, Chattanooga, and Saunders help with muscle mobilization, decompression, and depressurization of nerves and discs. With multiple adjustment settings, intermittent and cyclic tension options that mimic hands-on therapy, and a variety of table adjustments, our traction tables, units, and accessories are an ideal addition to your office.

Other Solutions

The products listed above are, of course, only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Among our other options are the Apollo Desktop Laser Unit, which can be used on two patients at once or two areas on the same patient, providing great deep tissue relief. It’s an excellent complement to the FMST TOOLS Fluid Motion Soft Tissue tools. And if you’re like many of our chiropractic partners, you offer other products for sale in your office, including nutritional support and topical pain relief; we invite you to consider our Omni cervical relief pillow as a further beneficial add-on for your patients.

Working with Great Lakes Imaging

Whether you’re updating the equipment in your practice or are taking your first steps into the field, Great Lakes Imaging provides a wide range of equipment — with customization options — to ensure you remain on the cutting edge of chiropractic treatment. For a consultation, price quote, or answers to your questions about our product line, get in touch today!

Posted on

How to Choose an X-Ray Machine For Your Healthcare Office

The ability to conduct x-rays in-house provides a number of benefits for healthcare practices. There are no wait times for third-party imaging, results can be evaluated faster, and the quality of patient care is improved. But choosing the correct medical imaging equipment is vital. Great Lakes Imaging has the following suggestions to help your medical practice — from chiropractors to veterinarians to orthopedists — choose wisely.

Start Simple

You can begin to narrow your options with two easy questions: what are you looking at, and what are you looking for? This will help you rule out large amounts of medical imaging equipment so you’re not wasting time on things your practice doesn’t need.

Digital or Film?

Film machines are less expensive, require less maintenance, and have less to malfunction. Digital machines provide a level of detail — sometimes with the ability to enhance segments of the file — and the ability to store on digital media for quicker recall. Some film machines can be converted for digital use, so if you’re considering making the switch, ask us whether yours is compatible with digital capture.

New or Used?

Medical practices change their equipment periodically to meet changes in demand, meaning that you may find equipment on the secondhand market that perfectly suits your needs. Going through a dealer gives you a level of accountability and peace of mind that might otherwise be missing.

Are You Experienced?

If your practice is incorporating medical imaging as a new service, you’ll want to choose between a stationary unit and one that’s portable. You’ll also need to evaluate your premises to see what kind of radiation shielding you’ll need, and any other accommodations you’ll need to make.

Get Help

That brings us to our next point. From our patients to our available space, no practice is one-size-fits-all. A DVM specializing in large animals is going to have different requirements than one whose clientele are mostly dog and cat owners; each, in turn, will have much different needs than a chiropractor. But even within those constraints, there are many more options than you may realize, so a consultation ahead of your purchase can help steer you toward something that fits your practice (and your space constraints) best.

Choose the Right Provider

For all their differences, the best medical practices share one thing in common: they’re in demand because they provide a higher level of care and a personal touch to all they serve. We suggest that you choose your medical imaging supplier every bit as carefully as your patients have chosen you.

For more than a quarter of a century, countless practices throughout Michigan have chosen Great Lakes Imaging to meet their needs, and exceed their expectations. That’s because in addition to medical equipment sales, we also offer medical equipment installation, maintenance, repair, and a host of custom health equipment and supplies. Contact Great Lakes Imaging today with your questions and needs — we’re here to help!